Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Decoupled or diversified?

LatAm equities (specifically Brazil) have had quite a run so far this year but questions are starting to surface if the party's over. Can LatAm markets really be "de-coupled" from the US's? How long can LatAm ride the commodity wave which seems to be lifting the region's equity boats?

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the decoupling theory, the US is still something like +40% of the global economy so if it tanks, everyone’s going to be impacted. But it is a question of how badly and Brazil in particular is (relatively) better shielded from perturbations in the US, mainly because it can rely somewhat on a huge internal market.

If commodity prices drop, that may have a negative impact on the region as a whole. But I think people aren't aware at how diversified the BOVESPA is. Of the 800 or so companies listed, about 80 are in oil, gas, and basic materials and about another 80 are in construction/transportation. Just by eyeballing the sectors represented, it looks like various financial institutions make up the plurality of listed companies.

Sure, this is a very quick look at the BOVESPA and I'm glossing over a lot of key questions (what percentage of the BOVESPA's value is in the commodity/construction companies? how much do the other companies ultimately rely on the functioning of commodities?) But that said, the BOVESPA is more diversified than many seem to think and that may be contributing to some of its gain and resilience. / Columnists / John Authers - The Short View: Latin America

No comments: